Ivanhoe Mines founder and CEO Robert Friedland.
CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Renewable energy capacity will increase by 8% to 320 GW this year, Ivanhoe Mines founder and CEO Robert Friedland told the Investing in African Mining Indaba on Wednesday at an event themed on the comment of former US president John F Kennedy that the moon launch was being undertaken “not because it was easy, but because it was hard”.
“Don’t tell me we have to burn coal. You can say burning coal’s legitimate for Africa to survive as we find a better solution. That’s very true. No one can lecture us that you mustn’t have electrical energy.
"But don’t tell me there isn’t a solution just because it’s hard," said Friedland, who described the decision of the US to set aside $370-billion in the next ten years for renewable energy, pollution reduction and environmental justice as “baby steps for baby feet” and highlighted China as "leading the way" in wind, solar and new energy grid.
Declaring that nothing is impossible, he displayed a new electric aircraft, for which an airline has put in an order for 100, “just to start”, and how engineers are beating all the odds in getting helicopters to fly on Mars.
“It’s hard to fly on Mars because the air is so thin and people said, well let’s figure out a helicopter that can fly on Mars. We put that helicopter up there. It was designed to fly five times. That was the dream but engineers worked like crazy and they put that helicopter up there that’s flown 81 times,” he said as he displayed the craft accompanied by these recorded words: “Sometimes we have to do something just to show that we can do it.”
TECHNOLOGY AS IT RELATES TO MINING
Friedland revealed that Ivanhoe has an American innovative company that functions in the spirit Kennedy.
“We have a new way to use electrical energy that we’re going to show the world. We’ve been working for 20 years in this private company with the support of the government of France.
“I want to thank the French government for supporting our research and development because this company is going to change the way we mine, and the way we bring water to the earth because large portions of the earth need water desperately for agricultural development.”
He predicts that this innovation is going to enable manufacturing to take place with dramatically less electrical energy.
Labelled iPulse, the breakthrough concentrates energy into extremely short electrical bursts called Pulsed Power, which is said to be capable of revealing critical mineral deposits at incredible depths as well as new, untapped water resources to enable more sustainable food production.
“If we stop spending our energy attacking each other and we learn to understand our brothers and sisters on this little ball we’re inhabiting, it’s possible to use electricity in a completely new way,” said Friedland, who is dead against the current balkanising of the world economy, which he condemns for creating inflation globally.
“It’s insane not to have an integrated world economy; it makes no sense at all,” he said, with a warning that the balkanising of the world economy cannot be fixed by the US Federal Reserve Board raising interest rates.